IRELAND's diaspora has become a valuable asset in pulling the country out of recession, it was claimed yesterday.
Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin revealed that a number of initiatives by key business people and cultural figures around the world have focused on our economic recovery.
He claimed the Global Irish Economic Forum, held at Farmleigh House last year, transformed Ireland's relationship with its diaspora.
"The Irish worldwide embraced the spirit of Farmleigh by actively contributing to the debate on Ireland's future and, in particular, by establishing a range of new and innovative local initiatives," said Mr Martin.
"Also, to a much greater extent than before, many state and private-sector organisations recognise that the enhancement of the relationship with the diaspora is proving a valuable asset in Ireland's economic recovery -- in particular in providing a competitive edge in certain key markets."
Mr Martin was introducing the report, The Global Irish Economic Forum -- One Year On. It outlines developments on several issues discussed at Farmleigh such as culture, innovation, tourism, green tech, financial services, agriculture and food, and a new strategy for Asia and emerging markets.
The minister said significant progress has been achieved by the Government and the private sector on a number of initiatives, including:
Elsewhere, the Government appointed Gabriel Byrne as Ireland's first Cultural Ambassador. Culture Ireland is also developing a special programme for 2011 to showcase Irish arts and culture throughout the US.
Mr Martin added: "This progress report demonstrates the commitment made to Farmleigh participants that their ideas would not simply be a report on a shelf but would be followed up by the Government at the highest level."